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Transformation within the South African economy and agriculture specifically, remains a national imperative. Agri SA, through its membership base, has been actively involved in promoting transformation through numerous development programmes ranging from training courses to recapitalisation.
Agri SA’s Transformation Report is geared towards promoting transformation in agriculture. This is done by identifying best practices and exploring opportunities for further growth, and, of course, finding solutions to developmental challenges.
On 3 May 2018 Agri SA announced that that it had formally launched a dedicated Water Desk that will focus on the need to ensure equitable access to water for farmers across South Africa. This initiative is in response to a host of external challenges facing agricultural water users, including severe drought, climate change and under-maintained infrastructure. The situation is all the more urgent given several policy proposals that may simultaneously increase the cost of water while reducing the availability to agricultural users.
The Agri SA Water Desk will, amongst other things, focus on water policy and legislative proposals such as the draft National Water and Sanitation Master Plan and the National Water Resource Strategy. The current amendments to the National Water Act, for example, will determine the cost of water for agricultural users, which is why it is necessary to engage with government and other key stakeholders from the start to work towards a fair outcome. The Agri SA Water Desk will also give inputs to the Water Research Commission (WRC) on research priorities and will act as a forum for top water experts to share their insights in a meaningful way.
The Agri SA Water Desk will be led by Janse Rabie, an environmental lawyer and Head of Agri SA’s Natural Resources Centre of Excellence and Gregory Smith, a water scientist. “The Agri SA Water Desk will be a one-stop-shop for Agri SA members, where they can get up to date information and advice on all things water-related, said Janse Rabie. “Given the complexity of water rights and the fast-changing policy environment, we believe that a dedicated Water Desk is the best way to enable agricultural water users to stay abreast of all legal developments which will have an impact on the way they farm and do business.
“Agri SA is at the forefront of legislative and policy development regarding the water sector in South Africa. Agri SA strives to support government in this fundamental area through collaboration with key stakeholders and timely and well-researched inputs to policy development, said Dan Kriek, President of Agri SA.
Agri SA invites its members, and interested parties, to contact the Agri SA Water Desk to find out how they can get involved.
Water Desk Strategy
Agri SA is pleased to announce that Senwes has agreed to continue funding the Smart Agriculture Risk Management Desk.
The confluence of challenging economic conditions, persisting political uncertainty and climate change have created the need for a systematic approach to risk management in the agriculture sector. In consequence, the Smart Agriculture Risk Management Desk (SARMD) was launched in collaboration with Senwes in May 2017. The objectives of the SARMD was to compile a disaster risk management plan, identify broader risks facing the agriculture sector and to investigate mitigation strategies of major risks.
In realisation of these objectives a comprehensive disaster risk management plan that was conducted by Koos van Zyl in 2006, was updated by Prof Andries Jordaan, Pieter de Jager and Janse Rabie. Furthermore, a comprehensive PESTLE analysis on the agriculture sector was conducted by Agri SA. This analysis was supported and expanded upon by a group of risk experts at a Risk Workshop held in February 2018 at Agri SA. During this process key risks for the agriculture sector were identified and possible mitigation strategies proposed.
Agri SA is now proactively involved in the mitigation of several risks and will do continuous analysis on risks facing the agriculture sector. “Agri SA is pro-actively involved in the mitigation of several risks facing the agriculture sector, such as land reform, rural safety and biosecurity. “, said Omri van Zyl, CEO of Agri SA.
Smart Agri Risk Management Desk
Agri SA launched the Emerging Farmer Support Portal (EFSP) on its website to have a streamlined channel for communication to respond to the large number of queries from individuals seeking support in agriculture in South Africa. The EFSP is another avenue in which Agri SA and its members are contributing to the development of emerging farmers.
Click here to view/download the EFSP Report.